The Doctor's Code of Conduct

Updated July 19, 2017

The doctor's code of conductor medical ethics--is based on underlying beliefs, assumptions, emotions and attitudes that in turn guide practice. Unethical conduct can lead to disciplinary action.


The Hippocratic Oath is the foundation of the doctor's code of conduct. This oath was an early Greek text requiring physicians to swear to uphold medical standards. The modern version was written in 1964 by Louis Lasagna, according to


There are four core principles related to a doctor's conduct. These principles are respect for patient rights, providing benefit to the patient, not harming the patient and acting with justice. These principles should be politically, religiously, culturally and philosophically neutral.


Doctors who follow an ethical code of conduct gain a good reputation among peers. Additionally, their patients feel respected and understood--leading to a greater level of patient satisfaction.


The modern Hippocratic Oath is not required by all medical schools. The exact terminology to "First, do no harm" is not found in the Hippocratic Oath, according to the NIH History of Medicine Division. It is likely that Hippocrates did not write the Hippocratic Oath. It may have been written by some of his students, reports the University of Virginia Health Systems.

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About the Author

Tracy Anglada is an award-winning mental health author and has been a special needs parenting writer since 2001. Anglada's articles have been published by "Pediatrics for Parents," "Calgary's Child" and "The Balanced Mind Foundation." Anglada's books have been recommended as resources by Harvard, Scholastic, and AACAP.